New California Traffic Laws Every Driver Must Be Aware of in 2024

A Look at 9 New Traffic Laws Impacting California Drivers for 2024

As the calendar turns to January 1, 2024, California drivers must acquaint themselves with a series of new traffic laws set to take effect. These changes, enacted through various Assembly Bills (AB), encompass a range of issues from law enforcement interactions to vehicle regulations.

1. Transparent Law Enforcement Stops

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” This commonly asked question by law enforcement officers during traffic stops will become a thing of the past in California starting in 2024. Assembly Bill 2773 mandates that officers must inform drivers of the stop’s reason before questioning occurs. This law aims to enhance transparency and communication during traffic stops.

2. Legalization of Low-Rider Cruising

Classic cars, low riders, and cruising have long been iconic elements of California’s cultural landscape. However, these activities have often been targeted by local bans. Assembly Bill 436 will change this by prohibiting cities and counties from imposing bans on cruising or low riders. This landmark legislation legalizes cruising throughout the state, recognizing its cultural significance, particularly among Latino communities.

3. Speed Camera Pilot Program

California is launching a pilot program authorized by Assembly Bill 645 to enhance road safety and curb speeding. Starting in 2024, six major cities— San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Glendale, and Long Beach— will be able to install speed cameras along roadways. These cameras automatically issue tickets to drivers exceeding the speed limit by 11 mph or more, promoting responsible driving habits.

4. Crosswalk Safety Measures

Assembly Bill 413 introduces a critical safety measure to protect pedestrians in crosswalks. Under this law, drivers are prohibited from parking or stopping their vehicles within 20 feet of a marked crosswalk on the side of the road they approach. The “daylighting” measure aims to enhance pedestrian visibility at crosswalks and reduce the risk of accidents.

5. Protection Against Catalytic Converter Theft

Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise in California. To address this issue, Assembly Bill 1519 makes it a misdemeanor to remove or alter Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) or other markings on catalytic converters. Possessing three or more catalytic converters with tampered identifiers will also be considered a misdemeanor. These measures aim to deter converter theft and protect vehicle owners.

6. Catalytic Converter Ownership Restriction

Assembly Bill 641 introduces another layer of protection against catalytic converter theft. It will be a misdemeanor for an individual to possess nine or more used catalytic converters that have been removed from vehicles unless they have the appropriate licensure. This law aims to deter illegal possession and sale of stolen converters.

7. Elimination of Skipping Traffic School as a Crime

Previously, individuals who failed to attend traffic school were charged with a misdemeanor. Assembly Bill 466 eliminates this criminal penalty, recognizing that such punishment was considered excessive by many and could result in undue hardship for offenders. Instead, the penalty for skipping traffic school will be limited to points on the violator’s license.

8. Pedestrian Signals for Bicyclists

Assembly Bill 1909, part of a broader 2022 package of bike-related legislation, allows bicyclists to proceed on a green light and a pedestrian walk signal. This change acknowledges the need for increased safety and flexibility for cyclists at intersections.

9. Enhanced Bike-Lane Parking Enforcement

Assembly Bill 361 grants cities and counties the authority to deploy automated cameras to record and issue citations to drivers who unlawfully occupy bike lanes with their vehicles. This initiative is scheduled to continue until 2030, emphasizing the safety of cyclists and guaranteeing that bike lanes are clearly designated for their intended purpose.

These nine new California traffic laws for 2024 encompass a range of essential changes, from improving law enforcement interactions to enhancing road safety and addressing issues like catalytic converter theft. Staying informed about these regulations is crucial for all California drivers to ensure they comply with the law and contribute to safer roads in the state.

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